Cannabidiol – an effective analgesic for toothache?

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“Design: This study is a randomised, placebo-controlled, triple-arm, phase IIA clinical trial with double masking which investigates the effectiveness and safety of Cannabidiol (CBD) as an analgesic for acute dental pain. The intervention drug, Epidiolex is an FDA-approved CBD oral solution (100 mg/ml) derived from the cannabis plant. The psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not included. The maximum recommended daily dose of Epidiolex is 20 mg/kg. 64 patients with moderate-severe odontogenic pain participated in the study and REDCap software was utilised to randomly assign participants into groups: CBD10 (10 mg/kg), CBD20 (20 mg/kg) and placebo. A single dose of the respective oral solution was administered, and participants monitored for 3 h. Patients remained blinded to group assignment, as did the outcome assessor. The provider was not blinded. The primary outcome measure was VAS (visual analogue scale) pain difference, compared to baseline and recorded at 7 subsequent marked times following administration (15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180 min). Additional outcome measures were also recorded: changes in bite force, pain intensity differences, the onset of significant pain relief, the maximum pain relief, psychoactive effects, mood changes and adverse events.

Case selection: 40 female and 21 male patients with moderate-severe odontogenic pain (defined as ≥30 on a 100 mm VAS) with a diagnosis of irreversible pulpitis or pulp necrosis and symptomatic apical periodontitis were included. Participation required a negative test for recent drug and alcohol use, a negative pregnancy test and no use of analgesics within 6 h of the trial. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, hepatic impairment, recreational cannabis users and patients taking CBD metabolising drugs were excluded along with those with an ASA classification above III. Patient characteristics recorded included: age, gender, race, tooth type affected, weight and BMI.

Data analysis: Mixed model analysis was used to compare numerical variables among the cohorts at the marked time intervals. VAS, bite force, Bowdle and Bond/Lader questionnaires were recorded. Inter-group analysis was completed using parametric and non-parametric post-hoc tests, including Holm-Bonferroni adjustment and the Shapiro-Wilk test, to evaluate data normality. NNTs were calculated for both CBD doses- the number of patients needing treatment before one patient experiences a minimum of 50% pain relief. X² tests were used to analyse categorical variables: pain intensity and adverse events. JMP software was used for the statistical analysis.

Results: 64 participants had originally enroled in the study, but three were excluded from data analysis due to ‘unrealistic results’, reporting complete pain relief within the first 15 min. 20 participants were given CBD10, 20 were given CBD20 and 21 placebo. 68% of the participants were Hispanic/Latino whilst 11% were white. The average age was 44 +/- 13.7. There was equal distribution of age, sex, race, tooth type, weight and body mass index (p > 0.05). No subject required rescue pain relief during the 3-h observation period. Compared to baseline VAS, significant pain relief was seen 30 min after drug administration for CBD10, versus after 15 min for CBD20 (p < 0.05). Pain reduction reached 50% at 60 min for CBD10 and at 120 min for CBD20. Both reported maximum pain reduction of 73% of baseline at 180 min. 33% pain reduction from baseline was seen in the placebo group, with a median VAS pain of 67% at 180 min. 45.4% of CBD10 and 46.6% of CBD20 required pain relief after 1-6 h, versus 37.5% of placebo (p > 0.05). Bite force increase was seen in both CBD10 and CBD20 groups at 90 and 180 min, versus no significant differences between time points in the placebo group. On assessing pain intensity, pain reduction was significantly associated with increasing time in the CBD groups (p < 0.001), versus no significant association with the placebo group (p = 0.0521). No statistically significant differences were seen between and within the groups for Bowdle or Bond/Lader questions (p > 0.05). In the 3 h observation period, CBD10 experienced 14 times more sedation symptoms versus placebo (p < 0.05), whilst CBD20 experienced this 8 times more (p < 0.05). Within the 3 h, CBD20 were 10-fold more likely to have diarrhoea and abdominal pain (p < 0.05), with some experiencing pain beyond the 3 h but resolving within the day.

Conclusions: Based on this randomised clinical trial, pure CBD drug Epidiolex demonstrates effective analgesia against acute toothache.”

Antibiofilm and Immune-Modulatory Activity of Cannabidiol and Cannabigerol in Oral Environments-In Vitro Study

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“Objective: To evaluate the in vitro antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties and the immune modulatory activity of cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) on oral bacteria and periodontal ligament fibroblasts (PLF).

Methods: Cytotoxicity was assessed by propidium iodide flow cytometry on fibroblasts derived from the periodontal ligament. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of CBD and CBG for S. mutans and C. albicans and the metabolic activity of a subgingival 33-species biofilm under CBD and CBG treatments were determined. The Quantification of cytokines was performed using the LEGENDplex kit (BioLegend, Ref 740930, San Diego, CA, USA).

Results: CBD-treated cell viability was greater than 95%, and for CBG, it was higher than 88%. MIC for S. mutans with CBD was 20 µM, and 10 µM for CBG. For C. albicans, no inhibitory effect was observed. Multispecies biofilm metabolic activity was reduced by 50.38% with CBD at 125 µg/mL (p = 0.03) and 39.9% with CBG at 62 µg/mL (p = 0.023). CBD exposure at 500 µg/mL reduced the metabolic activity of the formed biofilm by 15.41%, but CBG did not have an effect. CBG at 10 µM caused considerable production of anti-inflammatory mediators such as TGF-β and IL-4 at 12 h. CBD at 10 µM to 20 µM produced the highest amount of IFN-γ.

Conclusion: Both CBG and CBD inhibit S. mutans; they also moderately lower the metabolic activity of multispecies biofilms that form; however, CBD had an effect on biofilms that had already developed. This, together with the production of anti-inflammatory mediators and the maintenance of the viability of mammalian cells from the oral cavity, make these substances promising for clinical use and should be taken into account for future studies.”

“The role of bacteria, together with the production of anti-inflammatory mediators and the maintenance of the viability of mammalian cells from the oral cavity, make these substances promising for clinical use and should be considered for future in vivo studies. In the near future, it will be useful to study Cannabis derivatives uses on biofilm formation as well as to functionalize different regeneration biomaterials with cannabinoids, which could be a useful approach to improve clinical outcomes after periodontal therapy.”

Phytocannabinoids and gingival inflammation: Preclinical findings and a placebo-controlled double-blind randomized clinical trial with cannabidiol

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“Objective: The aim of this study was to: (1) evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on primary cultures of human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) and (2) to clinically monitor the effect of CBD in subjects with periodontitis.

Background: The use of phytocannabinoids is a new approach in the treatment of widely prevalent periodontal disease.

Materials and methods: Cannabinoid receptors were analyzed by western blot and interleukin production detected using enzyme immunoassay. Activation of the Nrf2 pathway was studied via monitoring the mRNA level of heme oxygenase-1. Antimicrobial effects were determined by standard microdilution and 16S rRNA screening. In the clinical part, a placebo-control double-blind randomized study was conducted (56 days) in three groups (n = 90) using dental gel without CBD (group A) and with 1% (w/w) CBD (group B) and corresponding toothpaste (group A – no CBD, group B – with CBD) for home use to maintain oral health. Group C used dental gel containing 1% chlorhexidine digluconate (active comparator) and toothpaste without CBD.

Results: Human gingival fibroblasts were confirmed to express the cannabinoid receptor CB2. Lipopolysaccharide-induced cells exhibited increased production of pro-inflammatory IL-6 and IL-8, with deceasing levels upon exposure to CBD. CBD also exhibited antimicrobial activities against Porphyromonas gingivalis, with an MIC of 1.5 μg/mL. Activation of the Nrf2 pathway was also demonstrated. In the clinical part, statistically significant improvement was found for the gingival, gingival bleeding, and modified gingival indices between placebo group A and CBD group B after 56 days.

Conclusions: Cannabidiol reduced inflammation and the growth of selected periodontal pathogenic bacteria. The clinical trial demonstrated a statistically significant improvement after CBD application. No adverse effects of CBD were reported by patients or observed upon clinical examination during the study. The results are a promising basis for a more comprehensive investigation of the application of non-psychotropic cannabinoids in dentistry.”

Cannabidiol as an Alternative Analgesic for Acute Dental Pain

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“Odontogenic pain can be debilitating, and nonopioid analgesic options are limited. This randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of cannabidiol (CBD) as an analgesic for patients with emergency acute dental pain. Sixty-one patients with moderate to severe toothache were randomized into 3 groups: CBD10 (CBD 10 mg/kg), CBD20 (CBD 20 mg/kg), and placebo. We administered a single dose of respective oral solution and monitored the subjects for 3 h. The primary outcome measure was the numerical pain differences using a visual analog scale (VAS) from baseline within and among the groups. Secondary outcome measures included ordinal pain intensity differences, the onset of significant pain relief, maximum pain relief, changes in bite force within and among the groups, psychoactive effects, mood changes, and other adverse events. Both CBD groups resulted in significant VAS pain reduction compared to their baseline and the placebo group, with a maximum median VAS pain reduction of 73% from baseline pain at the 180-min time point (P < 0.05). CBD20 experienced a faster onset of significant pain relief than CBD10 (15 versus 30 min after drug administration), and both groups reached maximum pain relief at 180-min. Number needed to treat was 3.1 for CBD10 and 2.4 for CBD20. Intragroup comparisons showed a significant increase in bite forces in both CBD groups (P < 0.05) but not in the placebo group (P > 0.05). CBD20 resulted in a significant difference in mean percent bite force change in the 90- and 180-min time points compared to the placebo group (P < 0.05). Compared to placebo, sedation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain were significantly associated with the CBD groups (P < 0.05). There were no other significant psychoactive or mood change effects. This randomized trial provides the first clinical evidence that oral CBD can be an effective and safe analgesic for dental pain.”

“This study showed for the first time that pure CBD could provide more than 70% analgesia to patients with emergency dental pain and increase their bite force during the analgesic effect while maintaining a safe drug profile with minimal side effects. This novel study can catalyze the use of CBD as an alternative analgesic to opioids for acute inflammatory pain conditions, which could ultimately help to address the opioid epidemic.”

Cannabidiol Rescues TNF-α-Inhibited Proliferation, Migration, and Osteogenic/Odontogenic Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem Cells


“Strategies to promote dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) functions including proliferation, migration, pro-angiogenic effects, and odontogenic/osteogenic differentiation are in urgent need to restore pulpitis-damaged dentin/pulp regeneration and DPSCs-based bone tissue engineering applications. Cannabidiol (CBD), an active component of Cannabis sativa has shown anti-inflammation, chemotactic, anti-microbial, and tissue regenerative potentials. Based on these facts, this study aimed to analyze the effect of CBD on DPSCs proliferation, migration, and osteogenic/odontogenic differentiation in basal and inflammatory conditions. Highly pure DPSCs with characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were successfully isolated, as indicated by the results of flowcytometry and multi-lineage (osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic) differentiation potentials. Among the concentration tested (0.1-12.5 µM), CBD (2.5 μM) showed the highest anabolic effect on the proliferation and osteogenic/odontogenic differentiation of DPSCs. Pro-angiogenic growth factor VEGF mRNA expression was robustly higher in CBD-treated DPSCs. CBD also prompted the migration of DPSCs and CBD receptor CB1 and CB2 expression in DPSCs. TNF-α inhibited the viability, migration, and osteogenic/odontogenic differentiation of DPSCs and CBD reversed these effects. CBD alleviated the TNF-α-upregulated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6 in DPSCs. In conclusion, our results indicate the possible application of CBD on DPSCs-based dentin/pulp and bone regeneration.”

“We tested the effect of CBD on DPSCs functions required for dentin and pulp revitalization and bone regeneration, including viability, migration, osteogenic/odontogenic differentiation, pro-angiogenic potential, and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro experiments. Our results showed the anabolic effect of CBD in these functions of DPSCs both in the basal and inflammatory situations suggesting the possible application of CBD or/and DPSCs on oral tissue regeneration including dentin/pulp and bone. Our results warrant in situ studies using dentin/pulp and bone regeneration models to further confirms these anabolic roles of CBD.”

Evaluation of cannabinoid receptors type 1-2 in periodontitis patients

“Background: As effective immune modulators, Endocannabinoids may suppress the inflammatory responses in periodontitis. This study assessed the expression of cannabinoid receptors in gingiva and the impact on periodontitis.

Methods: A cross-sectional study on 20 patients with more than stage II and Grade A periodontitis and a control group consisting of 19 healthy individuals was performed. The gingival biopsies were assessed for the expression of CB1 and CB2 using the quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, TaqMan method.

Results: The study sample consisted of 39 subjects, 31 females (79.5%) and 8 males (20.5%), including 20 periodontitis subjects (80% female and 20% male), and control groups (78.9% female and 21.1% male). The mean ages of cases and controls were 33.3 ± 4.7 and 35.7 ± 5.1 years, respectively. The gene expression of CB2 in periodontitis was 27.62 ± 7.96 and in healthy subjects was 78.15 ± 23.07. The CB2 was significantly lower than the control group (p = .008). In comparison, the gene expression index of CB1 in the periodontal group (9.42 ± 3.03) was higher than the control group (6.62 ± 1.13) but did not meet a significant value (p = .671).

Conclusion: The lower expression of CB2 receptors in the periodontitis group may be due to the reduced protective effect of anti-inflammatory agents. These elements include cannabinoids and the imbalance leading to the predominance of pro-inflammatory effects. Therefore, the local effects of cannabinoids as an immunomodulator could be useful for oral inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis.”

“In conclusion, as CB2 receptors are expressed in gingival tissues, particularly immune cells and fibroblasts, they involve in tissue and wound repair. The lower expression of these receptors in periodontitis, could be related to the inflammatory reactions and interrupts wound repair. Therefore, it seems that the use of cannabinoid CB2 agonists in the form of mouth wash contributes to the healing of periodontitis.”

Anti-inflammation and gingival wound healing activities of Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa (hemp) extract and cannabidiol: An in vitro study

Archives of Oral Biology

“Objective: To evaluate the anti-inflammatory and gingival wound healing activities of Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa (hemp) extract and cannabidiol (CBD).

Design: The cellular bioactivities of hemp extract and CBD were determined the inhibition of TNF-α and IL-1β in LPS-induced murine macrophage (RAW 264.7) cells by using ELISA while wound healing activity in human gingival fibroblast (HGF-1) cells was performed by a scratch test assay. The cytotoxicity was also concerned and evaluated by MTT assay.

Results: The hemp extract and CBD significantly decreased TNF-α release by up to 91.05 ± 2.91% and 50.78 ± 7.21% of LPS activity, respectively, in a dose-dependent manner, compared to 10 µg/mL hydrocortisone (61.67 ± 3.79%). The hemp extract and CBD also significantly decreased IL-1β release, also in dose-dependent response, up to 78.03 ± 3.34% and 85.87 ± 1.11% of LPS activity, respectively, compared to 5 µg/mL hydrocortisone (80.81 ± 3.55%). The mean percentage of closure of the wound area was 27.92 ± 1.21% when exposed to 5 µg/mL hemp extract and 33.49 ± 1.67% when exposed to 0.5 µg/mL CBD, compared to 24.34 ± 2.29% for non-treated control.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that both hemp extract and CBD can inhibit TNF-α and IL-1β production in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells and promote wound healing in HGF-1 cells. This is the first to show that short-term exposure to hemp extract and CBD promoted gingival fibroblast wound healing, demonstrating that hemp extract and CBD have potential benefits in the treatment of oral inflammation and ulcers.”


CBD Promotes Oral Ulcer Healing via Inhibiting CMPK2-Mediated Inflammasome

Journal of Dental Research - The European Society of Endodontology“Oral ulcer is a common oral inflammatory lesion accompanied by severe pain but with few effective treatments. Cannabidiol (CBD) is recently emerging for its therapeutic potential in a range of diseases, including inflammatory conditions and cancers.

Here we show that CBD oral spray on acid- or trauma-induced oral ulcers on mice tongue inhibits inflammation, relieves pain, and accelerates lesion closure. Notably, the enrichment of genes associated with the NOD, LRR, and NLRP3 pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome pathway is downregulated after CBD treatment. The expression of cleaved-gasdermin D (GSDMD) and the percentage of pyroptotic cells are reduced as well.

In addition, CBD decreases the expression of cytidine/uridine monophosphate kinase 2 (CMPK2), which subsequently inhibits the generation of oxidized mitochondria DNA and suppresses inflammasome activation. These immunomodulating effects of CBD are mostly blocked by peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARγ) antagonist and partially antagonized by CB1 receptor antagonist.

Our results demonstrate that CBD accelerates oral ulcer healing by inhibiting CMPK2-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation and pyroptosis, which are mediated mostly by PPARγ in the nucleus and partially by CB1 in the plasma membrane.”

Anti-Bacterial Properties of Cannabigerol Toward Streptococcus mutans

Frontiers in Microbiology: Multidrug Resistance in Pasteurellaceae“Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) is a gram-positive facultatively anaerobic bacterium and the most common pathogen associated with tooth caries. The organism is acid tolerant and can undergo physiological adaptation to function effectively in acid environments such as carious dental plaque.

Some cannabinoids have been found to have potent anti-microbial activity against gram-positive bacteria. One of these is the non-psychoactive, minor phytocannabinoid Cannabigerol (CBG). Here we show that CBG exhibits anti-bacterial activities against S. mutans.

In summary, we present here data showing the mechanisms by which CBG exerts its anti-bacterial effect against S. mutans.”

“Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychotropic Cannabis-derived cannabinoid (CB). In summary, the present study demonstrates an anti-bacterial effects of the Cannabis component CBG toward the cariogenic bacteria S. mutans. The interference of CBG with the caries causative S. mutans may provide a novel innovative way to combat dental caries.”

“Recent advances in the understanding of the aetiology and therapeutic strategies in burning mouth syndrome: focus on the actions of cannabinoids”.

European Journal of Neuroscience“Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a neuropathic pain disorder associated with a burning sensation on oral mucosal surfaces with frequently reported xerostomia, dysgeusia and tingling or paraesthetic sensations. However, patients present no clinically evident causative lesions. The poor classification of the disorder has resulted in a diagnostic challenge, particularly for the clinician/dentist evaluating these individuals. Major research developments have been made in the BMS field in recent years to address this concern, principally in terms of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the disorder, in addition to therapeutic advancements. For the purpose of this review, an update on the pathophysiological mechanisms will be discussed from a neuropathic, immunological, hormonal and psychological perspective. This review will also focus on the many therapeutic strategies that have been explored for BMS, including antidepressants/antipsychotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, hormone replacement therapies, phytotherapeutic compounds and non-pharmacological interventions, overall highlighting the lack of controlled clinical studies to support the effectiveness of such therapeutic avenues. Particular focus is given to the cannabinoid system, and the potential of cannabis-based therapeutics in managing BMS patients.”